Friday, 8 August 2014

Review: Buzz Bee Extreme Blastzooka + Internals

We are proud to be able to present a review on Buzz Bee's new Extreme Blastzooka!
This unit was sent to us by Buzz Bee Toys, many thanks to them for that. Note that them sending this unit for review will not taint the review in any way.


The box is pretty ordinary open-style fare, as usual from Buzz Bee. Note the 9m range claim instead of the 50ft that I believe North America is receiving. Judging from my testing results, and from what Buzz Bee has said, I believe the North American one does have more power.
EDIT 10/3/15: During my trip to Canada, I found out how Buzz Bee got better ranges without altering the OPRV. The 50ft Blastzookas simply have larger air release holes in the rocket post. Instead of the pin holes that the 9m one gets, the 50ft one has holes maybe 4mm in diametre.

This boxing is really, really simple and cheap. The clear gaps are not something you'd see in a Nerf box. Though it does feel a little like Buzz Bee is cutting costs here (and they probably are), with such an emphasis on environmental impact, minimal cardboard is nice.
Note also how easy it is to get the Blastzooka out of the box. It just takes the untying of two cable ties and it comes out easy. Not great for anti theft, but it's not exactly easy to conceal the Blastzooka...
The missiles are harder to get to without damaging the box though.

And everything finally out of packaging.
Here's a better look at the Blastzooka's new missile compared to an Elite dart.

Old Buzz Bee missiles do fit in the Blastzooka. They are a bit tighter on the rocket post, but get pretty much the same range.
Conversely, the Blastzooka rockets are a little loose on the rocket post of a 4B or Berserker. They still get the same range as the old yellow Buzz Bee rockets though.

Here's the two missiles compared directly.
Note the difference in construction - the new rocket has just a green main body and a black rear and 3 fins all in one piece. The old rocket has a yellow main body, yellow rear body, and 4 blue fins.


Now let's look at the blaster itself.

The rocket post is basically the same as a the Buzz Bee Big Blast, releasing air through two 1-2mm diametre pinholes near the end of the post. Note also that the muzzle ring is clipped on, and can probably be removed through brute force.
 The middle section is rather thin.
The other side of the shell, without the sticker it's rather bland, even with the orange accents.
The missile loads in pretty easy, just push it over the rocket post. It's reasonably tight, and so gets a pretty good air seal.
As with a lot of other Buzz Bee blasters, the Blastzooka is a lot lighter than similar sized Nerf made blasters. The plastic does feel thinner, though unlike some older Buzz Bee blasters I've used, while the Blastzooka does feel "cheap" compared to a Nerf blaster, it doesn't have the "dollar store toy" cheap feel to it.

The Blastzooka is an air blaster. To prime it, you pump multiple times to pressurise the tank, and then fire all the air at once by pressing the trigger.
The Blastzooka takes 12 pumps for maximum power. Any more triggers the OPRV, and vents the excess air. It requires a minimum of about 4 pumps though to actually fire off the rocket. Any less and the rocket just slides up the rocket post.


The draw on the pump is about 13cm.
The pump handle is a little small and uncomfortable to grip. At least for me.
This is the trigger, it's just a push to fire thing. Nothing interesting except for the fact it's not a conventional trigger.
Unlike most other blasters, the Blastzooka is designed to be shoulder fired. Here's a look at the curve seemingly design to be a shoulder rest.
Here's me with the Blastzooka mounted on my shoulder. My left arm is bent nearly 180 degrees just to hold the forward section of the Blastzooka, it's actually very, very small for its purpose.
I actually use it resting the pump handle against my shoulder like a stock, as it's far more comfortable than trying to use it shoulder mounted.
The size is more suitable for young children, maybe 8 years old or so, but definitely for teenagers and adults shoulder firing the Blastzooka is not going to be very comfortable.
Here's the Blastzooka compared to a couple other blasters I had lying around. As you can clearly see, it's about the length of a Roughcut. So if you want an idea of how small the Blastzooka is, try mounting a Roughcut on your shoulder.

EDIT 18/9/14
The Blastzooka works fine with the Nerf Demolisher's rockets. You lose a bit of range compared to Buzz Bee rockets but they work none the less. A good alternative seeing as Demo rocket packs are available for cheap.

And now performance.
At maximum power (~12 pumps), the Blastzooka fired from shoulder level flat gets about 8m range. Which isn't bad considering it's firing a rocket. A (very) high angle can get over 14m, so yes the Blastzooka does live up to its 9m range claim.
Accuracy is pretty good, but not perfect. The rockets fly relatively straight, but sometimes have trajectories on a slight angle. You still have a good chance of hitting a human sized target at 8m though.
Rate of fire is as you'd expect, awful. It takes 12 pumps to get maximum power, and that takes several seconds. Then you have to insert a new rocket on the rocket post, and you're looking at 5+ seconds before getting off a second shot.

The Blastzooka has an RRP of 10USD in the US, and an unknown price in Australia (Australian release is unconfirmed). It's a fairly good deal considering that's about the price of a Strongarm. Sure a Strongarm would be much more practical in almost all Nerf war scenarios, but launching rockets is fun. The next cheapest rocket blaster I know of that's currently available is the Demolisher, and that thing is 40USD.
If your gametypes give power to rockets (such as destroying shields) and you want a rocket blaster, then the Blastzooka is a much better value choice than the Demolisher, so it's definitely a good option. If you're looking for a blaster to derp around with, the Blastzooka is fun, but don't forget there are other cheap and fun dart blasters around too.
At such a low price, I think you have very little to lose purchasing one, even if you don't have a need for a rocket blaster. I would get more if they came to Australia.

Pros: First rocket blaster in a while, unique and novel design, new rockets fly further than old ones, compatible with Demolisher, makes a cool noise on firing
Cons: Takes longer to pump up than previous Buzz Bee rocket blasters, war impractical unless special rocket rules are implemented, too small for teenagers and adults, sticker decal

Power: 7/7
Accuracy: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Usability: 3.5/5
Rate of Fire: 0.5/5
Overall: 3.6/5

Personal Rating: 4.5/5 - though it is a little on the small side, and it takes quite a few pumps to fully prime, I think the rockets look sick, and there's always a certain charm to launching rockets.
And pure fun factor cannot be quantified or ignored.

Again many thanks to Buzz Bee Toys for sending this for review! It's quite a fun blaster to toy around with, if rather war impractical and undersized.


And now for the internals. Much talk about the Blastzooka was how it would compare to Buzz Bee's previous rocket launcher, the Big Blast. That thing had a huge tank and had incredible mod potential. Does the Blastzooka have that same potential?
Well as blatantly obvious, the Blastzooka's tank is a fair bit smaller than the second gen Big Blast tank. The first gen Big Blast tank is bigger still. Also note that the Blastzooka has what's known as a "back pressure" tank, rather than the Big Blast's more conventional pin release. It does get the same stock range though, so who knows? Maybe it can match the Big Blast in power with a stock OPRV.




The second gen Big Blast filled its tank in 3-4 pumps, so why does the Blastzooka need 12? This is the answer, the Blastzooka pump is tiny compared to the Big Blast, meaning it takes a lot more pumps to move the same volume of air.


3 comments:

  1. I would like to say that I think I am the first Australian to break a blastzooka

    - R

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. nope, wrong

      nah just kidding, i dont even have one yet

      Delete
    2. He's probably the first person in the world to have broken a Blastzooka, it was mine.
      But hey, FARST!!!!1one1!

      Delete